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Trafton parents file appeal against Board's decision to close school

ARLINGTON — A group of parents whose children attended Trafton Elementary School have filed an appeal against the Arlington School District in wake of the School Board's decision to close the school.

The plaintiffs are asking for a Snohomish County Supreme Court judge to order a reversal of the Board's unanimous decision to close Trafton, which had been continuously operated since 1888.

According to court documents filed July 13, the parents state that next school year their children will be forced to attend schools that do not meet adequate yearly progress benchmarks.

The group also states that district officials have been involved in on-going negotiations to lease the building to an unidentified third party, adding that that offer was in place before the Board voted on June 14 to close the school.

"We feel like it was an unfair and biased decision," said Terri Forslof, spokeswoman for the school's parent club's "Keep Trafton Alive" committee and co-plaintiff in the appeal. "That's really all I can say to that officially at this point. We just feel that there was a lot of misinformation provided to the public."

Forslof said that the group was meeting with its attorneys on Wednesday, July 21, and would be able to provide more detailed comments on the appeal shortly after.

The Arlington School District did not comment on the case Tuesday, July 20.

In an e-mail to The Arlington Times, Julie Davis, assistant to the Superintendent and the School Board, said that officials are still evaluating the allegations and had not been able to meet with school district attorney David Hokit of Kent-based Curran Law Firm.

In the appeal, the parents contend that the approximately 140 students that went to Trafton will "lose the unique educational environment and programming for which Trafton is known (and) lose reasonable accommodations."

The plaintiffs, comprised of five couples and three individuals, say the Board did not comply with school closure requirements as outlined by state law.

Additionally, the group argues that the Board did not "adequately and genuinely consider the effects of Trafton's closure on the students, including the impacts of busing, flooding, (federal No Child Left Behind) public school choice requirements, reasonable accommodation for special needs student(s), and the revenue and educational quality losses resulting from an en-masse transfer."

The Arlington School District has until Aug. 2 to file any documents that were part of their decision-making process for the judge to see, Hokit said.

"Then it's back up to the group that filed the suit to move it forward," he said.

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